In May, 2013, a suburban community in Texas approved the passage of a bond that allowed its high-performing school district to provide all students and educators a Dell Venue tablet. From the outset, Dell and ALP have partnered very closely with the school district to ensure not only a responsive deployment of devices but a powerful transformation in the role the adult learning plays within and between all school sites.
In July of 2013, a 6-member Professional Learning Specialist (PLS) cadre was activated to model best practices in classroom coaching and modeling across 8 high schools and 10 intermediate schools in the first two phases of the district's Latitude to Learn personalized learning initiative. This partnership continues at a district scope in the 2014-15 academic year, with the PLS cadre providing job-embedded professional learning support to over 100 curriculum and technology specialists as they grow into an evolved role profile that includes classroom coaching.
Over the last 18 months, ALP, Dell, and district educators have successfully implemented an innovative approach to professional learning resulting in multiple benefits to educators in all elementary, intermediate and high schools. First, two participating teachers are paired based on learning interests and existing skills. Teachers take turns hosting the coaching, observation, and modeling session and benefit from personalized feedback from the ALP Coach and his/her teaching colleague. Second, both educators receive training on the process for observing, coaching, and providing resources and feedback to his/her colleague.
In this model, the process is integrated into the school system and leaves both participating educators with the capacity to continue the process in the role of a peer coach or mentor. In addition, Dell and ALP consultants continue to collaborate closely with district site administrators and district specialists from the outset of the project in order plan the strategic role out of the coaching model, identify teacher leaders, and work with specialists to advance skills in implementation of the coaching model.